Pioneer Theater Guild Nails Its Fall Show: The Phantom Of The Opera


Community Junior Hank Miller played the role of the Phantom in the musical.

Ella Bourland and Sari Greifer

The part of Carlotta was played by Community High senior, Clare Lauer

Although most of her career has been playing smaller roles, Community senior, Clare Lauer, got the chance to take on the challenge of a major role in “The Phantom of the Opera”. In the musical she played Carlotta, the star of the opera, who is upstaged by Christine, played by Pioneer junior Karina Stribley.

Throughout high school, Lauer has been working her way up the performance ladder, starting her sophomore year as a Rising Star. She then participated in Footlose, Student Productions, Hairspray, Future Stars and Comedy Troop. This fall, she landed the role Carlotta in “The Phantom of the Opera”.

Lauer wanted to participate in the show because it’s one of her all time favorite musicals. “I love the storyline … [and] the storyline between the three leads: Christine, Raul and the Phantom,” said Lauer.

Like many high school plays, “The Phantom of the Opera” had numerous rehearsals a week. “I feel like it’s been my life for the past two months. I think there were two days when I didn’t have rehearsal … for the past two months.” Lauer explained that most often the cast had rehearsal from 3:30 to 6:30 everyday. Eventually they started calling them in on Sundays from 1:00 to 6:00. “And since my role had a lot of singing, I had a couple vocal lessons with the musical director, Joel,” Lauer said.

Community junior Hank Miller played the role of the Phantom.

How a rehearsal runs depends on the director. “Our directors basically wanted to go through the show, scene by scene, musical number by musical number, so we could just have an idea of how the show ran,” Lauer said.  Lauer summarized the process to five steps; learn the music, learn the dancing, learn the staging, memorize it and move on.

For the actual performance, Lauer just tried her best to get through it in one piece and make each performance her best. Lauer recalled some of the things she was thinking just before the show. “I want to do this perfectly, all the notes, all the tiny little details I’ve been given; I want to remember all of them and just be so committed. But … by doing all of that, I wasn’t really able to enjoy it because I was working so hard. Right after the show, that’s when I was like ‘oh my god, this feels so cool'”.

Two of the main roles in the show are played by Community High School students: the Phantom and Carlotta. Lauer believes that it does not matter what school actors and singers come from, “As long as your interested in theater and you like it, you should be able to do it.” She enjoyed the show even more because Hank Miller, the phantom, and her could relate through their mutual school.

Overall, participating in “The Phantom of the Opera” has been an incredible experience for Lauer.  Though the process was long, tiring and difficult through rehearsals, voice lessons, Cue-to-Cue’s, tech week and the final show, the payoff was worth it.  Lauer summarizes the entire process in three words: challenging, enjoyable and gratifying.

Photos taken by Myra Klarman